It's weird, man. All sorts a bizarre ironies come to a fellas skull when pondering the legacy of Richey James Edwards. For one damn thing, it's amazing that when a fella looks back, or even reaches down for to press play on Generation Terrorists or The Holy Bible, what run around the old subconscious are morbid whispers of death, isolation, misery. "Culture, alienation, boredom and despair", as some fucker or other once put it.
It's hard to picture a time when nobody thought anything of the like regarding this ever-so-handsome, mascara drenched, leopard-print, philosophy-spouting creature. Back in the day, man, what folks saw was the coolest, most arrogant, most illogically exciting motherfucker anyone ever laid eyes on, a guitarist standing on the side of a stage battering away at his instrument when everyone knew it wasn't even plugged in.
He couldn't play a note, is what.
Back when the New Art Riot and the Generation Terrorists were making their way in the popular culture, what a fella was exposed to was a riot of color and glamour and stencilled-slogans spray-painted across t-shirts. They stole ruthlessly from The Clash in so far as the old "look" was concerned, and they stole ruthlessly from LA rock in so far as the old "sound" was concerned, but The Manic Street Preachers at least knew which houses to burgle, is what.
Had they been shit, maybe it would've all fizzled away and Richey James Edwards would still be on stage with James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore, maybe he'd even have learned to play by now, although he often waxed hilarious with regards how "fucking sad" learning to play guitar was.
Maybe they'd have split up, even. Who knows?
Ain't anybody ever going to know, is what, because, alas, the Manic's went ahead and revealed themselves to be ever so fucking wonderful, and so adulation, hatred, screaming admirers and The Cult Of Richey were all just around the corner.
At least, on this side of the stereo that's how things would pan out. On the other side, what was gonna happen was that Richey James Edwards would alternately endure and relish bouts of self-mutilation, alcoholism, severe depression, anorexia and any number of related horrors. There would be the infamous back-stage argument with Radio 1 DJ and NME writer Steve Lamaq, when the journalist would question the intentions of the Manic Street Preachers, and Edwards would respond by producing a razor blade and slicing 4 REAL into his forearm.